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Sermon Notes for January 14, 2018

Pastor Troy Martin

Text: Genesis 17:17-18:15

Laughter

 

God has promised Abraham descendants four times. Now, ninety-nine, and married to a woman not far behind, Abraham is again told he will have a child, and that the child will be by Sarah. By this point, Abraham sees how unreasonable it has become. He laughs at it. Sarah does the same when she hears it. This section is a unit of laughing saints who are promised a child who himself will be called laughter.

 

Overview

v. 17:17-18    Abraham had been listening to God. But when he is told the child will be by Sarah, He laughs! He offers a more reasonable solution to the affair.

 

v.17: 19-27    God is not interested in a reasonable solution. Ishmael will be blessed, but Isaac (whose name means ‘he laughs’) will come. So Abraham obeys.  

 

v. 18:1-8    God then comes back in the form of a visitor during the noon day sun. Abraham rushes to show him hospitality and great humility.

 

v. 18:9-11    This visitor, who is identified as the LORD, again promises the birth of Isaac, this time in Sarah’s hearing. She too laughs at God’s promise.

 

v. 18:12-15    God knows Sarah’s doubt. He asks the couple, “is anything too hard for me?” But the point is, the God who can open her mind to see what’s there, can open her womb and put something there.

 

Application

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” Je 1:5 In naming their child “laughter,” it seems that God has been arranging the events in Abraham and Sarah’s life in order to bring them to the moment when they were ready to laugh at the excessiveness of God’s promise. Their awe was His aim. It is much the same for us. God’s work is working wonder in our hearts. There are many reasons to laugh, here are three.

 

In Christ, _______________________________. While God spends a good amount of time in the Bible and in our consciences, showing us just how sinful we are, when we get it, he then calls us saints! It is incredible, but it is made for our wonder and our praise in Christ. 2 Co 5:21

 

In Christ, _______________________________. Forgiveness is an staggering gift. It would be enough in itself. Yet God’s habit is giving us more than enough. One of Paul’s favorite phrases in Romans 5 is “much more.” Ro 5:8-10 God makes sure there is excessive wonder in His grace.

 

In Christ, _______________________________. Abraham and Sarah had offered reasonable alternatives to God’s promise. God seems uninclined to take an alternative. In fact, it seems he is moving the couple to have a faith as great as the gifts he offers. Ps 37:4 Such faith is praise.

 

Questions for Household Growth

What did Benjamin Disraeli think of noon time in Israel?

 

How is Calvin’s motto similar to Abraham’s actions?

 

Why might God have waited so long to fulfil his promise?